Winchester Cathedral has opened a major new exhibition (21st May), showcasing the role that the city has played in shaping early British history.

After almost ten years of planning, Kings & Scribes: The Birth of a Nation was finally opened in the cathedral, displaying a new, three-level exhibition space in its South Transept.

A grant of £11.2 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and donations from other supporters made the transformation of the historic building possible.

The exhibition is split into four different galleries, so visitors are able to wander through its displays on a ’journey through history, from the birth of the English nation to present day.’

What to see at the exhibition

  • The Winchester Bible can be found on the ground floor in A Scribe’s Tale, a space dedicated to the old manuscript. The bible is the largest of all surviving 12th century English bibles, well-known for its size and artwork within.
  • The Birth of a Nation will educate its visitors on the secrets concealed within the cathedral’s mortuary chests, believed to be the remains of pre-Conquest kings and bishops. This part of the exhibition will look at the role of Winchester’s Anglo-Saxon and Norman Cathedrals, evolving over time as more information is discovered on the founding kings and queens of England.
  • Decoding the Stones unlocks mysteries of the cathedral, a building which has been destroyed and remade over centuries of struggle and Civil War. Today’s cathedral contains a large amount of architectural styles such as Romanesque (Anglo-Norman), Gothic and Renaissance.
  • Groups will be able to understand the realities of monastic life at Winchester Cathedral Priory, with displays from the cathedral archives. There is also access to the Morley Library and its collection of books which have remained in their current location for more than 400 years.

All group visits to the exhibition and cathedral must be booked well in advance, with guided tour options available.

Large groups may be split in two to ease congestion around the cathedral but are very much welcome.

For more information about the exhibition, visit